What I've done for parkour so far...

My life changed when I started to grow invested in parkour. I'd trained dance for 15 hours a week for 10 years prior, but it never really gave my life direction. I've had the privilege of meeting the most amazing people and doing the most random things in only my first 5 years of parkour. 1 year in, I couldn't believe how niche a sport with such an amazing culture was and I wanted to share the movement and the lifestyle with anyone who would listen.

Actually, my first inspiration to give back to the community were my friends Steph and Danelle, who were known for bringing brownies to every monthly jam. I love baking and decorating but have always had an issue with eating everything I bake. Hungry parkour people willing to eat anything, regardless of whether I deemed it a failed cake, were my perfect starting point to giving something small back to the community.

The Red Bull Art of Motion cake I made for watching the 2019 event with some friends

Since 2015, my local parkour gym has run an annual event featuring a speed and freerunning competition. In 2017, I was the first and only female to compete in Jump Off history. I was 14 years old and super nervous. I took either last or second to last place in the junior speed running competition but I'd done it. I'd not only competed, but I'd finished the whole run.

In 2018, I was delighted to be joined by a few more girls in the speed run. I decided to fully commit and compete in the junior freerunning competition as well. To my utter shock, I placed 6th in the qualifying round and had to come up with a finals run. That was when I experienced the first panic attack of my life, but that's a story for another time. I eventually did my finals run and placed 6th overall, becoming the first girl to both compete in freerunning and make it past the qualifier stage of a Jump Off competition. I knew I'd inspired a lot of girls and I couldn't wait to find more ways to become a role model so the female community could grow in size and confidence.

When in 2018 the females in my city suggested creating Women of Sydney Parkour (WoSP), a proper organisation to unite us, I was 16 and crazily keen. Full of energy, I planned a few bimonthly jams before turning my eyes to something bigger: the annual Australian National Parkour Gathering (Nat Gat), which is hosted by a different Australian city each year.

I'd never planned an event before, contacted councils before, designed and made shirts before or given a public speech to a bunch of parkour people before. But as part of a team with some of the WoSP members I put a massive amount of effort into it and it showed in how successful the event was despite some council hiccups.

The shirt that I co-designed with Stephania Zitis for the event

The next year, a few WoSP members decided to fundraise to bring female athletes to Jump Off. In its 3 years of having guest athletes, no females had ever been invited, so we decided to fundraise for that ourselves via bake sales and promotional events. It took some financial donations from ourselves to make it happen but we managed to bring 2 female athletes to Sydney to Jump Off 2019, making the number of invited females equal to that of the males. Hikari Izumi and Saskia Neville had a massive impact on the local community as both the men and women got to see up close what a high level female athlete is capable of. Hikari even took 3rd place in the advanced freerunning competition, making her the first female ever to place at a Jump Off event.

Most recently, Stephania Zitis and I planned Wam Jam Sydney 2020, the national Women's Parkour Gathering in Australia. While it still has yet to go ahead due to the lasting impacts of coronavirus, we have already accomplished more with the event than anything I have ever done in the past.

So far we've:

  • Confirmed the invitation of international guests Sydney Olson, Melanie Hunt & Jemini Powell.

  • Made a raffle with prizes contributed by over 20 parkour/fitness brands.

  • Organised a collection of workshops and talks by Australian and guest international instructors.

  • Have a range of donated parkour gear and designed our own event gear to be sold at the event.

Though this may be controversial, I've also taken part in many of the FIG World Cup competitions from 2018-2019. I chose to include this in my blog post despite the many threatening DMs and vast backlash I've gotten, as I've seen myself improve as a role model and make a difference to people by taking part.

I started the competitions as a nervous 16 year old who'd done a few competitions at my local gym where my participation was more important to me than my display of skill. Throughout my competitions with FIG I interacted with so many different parkour athletes and realised how down-to-earth they all were, no matter how well known. I could talk for ages about everything that I gained and learnt from those competitions, but I'll save it for another post. The key thing I did want to share is that it made me realise that regardless of my skill level or ranking within the competition, I could inspire people.

This was most prominent to me in Chengdu, China where I had the most young girls come up to me for autographs and photos. I thought I was a nobody because of my unimpressive ranking but came to understand the situation better when I discussed it with one of my good friends and fellow athlete, Saskia Neville. She pointed out that demographically, I was the most similar to them. I was a girl, Asian, and the youngest competitor in attendance. They saw in me what they could be in a few years if they chose to pursue parkour.

FISE Hiroshima 2019: A group photo with some of the incredible athletes I've had the pleasure of meeting and befriending

I have always aimed to be a role model for minority groups; most prominently females in parkour. But seeing the inspiration caused by my youth, and more importantly, my ethnicity, which I have struggled to accept for much of my life, fuelled a fire. I always want to push harder to inspire more people with minority barriers to follow my footsteps with pursuing the incredible discipline that is parkour.

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